Saturday, March 8, 2014

Why I Write?

Recently fellow author Melissa Keir suggested I respond to a few key questions about writing. So I

thought in addition to that, I'd put a little excerpt from my latest work out there as well.  Any

comments as always are greatly appreciated.  And if you're interested, you may want to check out

Melissa's web site and blog for some very engaging stories.

What am I working on? 

 I’m working on the third book in the Jamie Richmond mystery series. The title is “Fleeing Beauty”.  It turns out Jamie’s father, Peter, who was a very successful sculptor who died at an early age, left behind a large storeroom filled with his creations that has been hidden for over twenty years. With the discovery, Jamie has a chance to find out more about her father and her own past.  There’s some intrigue, a new romance and the rekindling of old flames and more developments in her relationship with Malone.

How does it differ from others of its genre? 

These stories are all told from Jamie’s perspective, as opposed to third person, which is more common in mysteries. That’s a challenge for me (but I love a good challenge) because I often have to think ‘would a woman really say that or think that?’  Jamie’s a bit of a smart-ass, which she uses as a defense mechanism. Plus as a redhead, she’s got a temper, so keeping that in check is part of the fun.

Why do I write what I do? 

I’ve been an avid reader since I could pick up a book. Mysteries have always drawn me.  The good ones, with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing right until the end inspire me.  Telling stories is part of me. It’s a way to entertain, to give the reader a chance to slip away into a good book. I’ve had a number of great comments on the Jamie series and people are anxious to see what comes next. If you can create interesting characters that attract people, someone they can relate to, it’s a great feeling.

How does my writing process work? 

I can’t work with an outline. I’ve tried this a few times and it never fails that somewhere along the line, the story and the characters take on a mind of their own, leaving my original plan tossed to the side of the road, like the detritus of a Dairy Queen binge.  So I’ve learned to go with the flow.  I’ll start with a premise, the main idea and the conflict and feed in the characters.  I’m a sucker for unique character names so I always try to find something that will stick in your mind or have a meaning that will give you a clue as to how that character will behave. 

For example, in the Jamie series, her romantic interest is Malone. The fact that he only uses his last name drives Jamie a little crazy. But she’s stubborn and determined to figure it out. So after convincing Malone to tell her if she ever guesses right, she gives him a different name each day she sees him. It’s a little playful, a little mysterious and maybe a little childish, but that’s part of who Jamie is. Malone doesn’t really care, he just goes along with it. That wasn’t my intention in the beginning, but readers tell me that’s part of the relationship they enjoy.

As I’m writing, ideas will come to mind. It’s not uncommon for me to jump ahead in the story, writing a scene that demands my attention. When I’ve got that down, I’ll backtrack and pick up the thread and see where it fits in.  Subconsciously, I’m probably doing that as I write it. But it’s always interesting to see where that comes into play.

Here’s a quick excerpt from “Fleeing Beauty”.  In this scene, Jamie, Malone, Ian and Linda are carefully opening the crates of artwork that have been discovered in the studio’s storeroom. 

 Thursday morning the four of us returned to the studio.  Linda was anxious to see what treasures lurked inside the remaining crates. By my count, we still had twenty five to open. In no time at all we had the cameras set up and running while the guys maneuvered the first large crate into position.

I watched from behind the video camera as Malone and Ian pulled the burlap off the sculpture.  This one was a bronze titled ‘Fleeing Beauty’.  It was the body of a woman caught in the act of running. Tendrils of bronze in various lengths and thicknesses extended from her head, as if they were locks of hair billowing out behind her as she ran. Part of her face was obscured, turned against her shoulder as if attempting to hide her features from whoever was chasing her.  The woman’s body was voluptuous, full of dangerous, seductive curves. There was something haunting about this piece.  The guys became quiet, which was unusual. Linda slowly moved around it, taking pictures with the other camera.

“Holy shit,” Ian muttered.

“Watch your language,” Malone said, cuffing him lightly on the back on the head.

“How did he do that?” Ian said, taking a step away. “She looks real.”

“She looks alive,” Malone said.

“Check the file,” I suggested.

Ian ducked back into the studio. The three of us were now leaning against the worktable that held the laptop computer. None of us could take our eyes off the sculpture.  After almost two weeks of doing this, I thought I was becoming accustomed to unveiling these incredible works of art. But this one stopped me in my tracks. And it wasn’t just me.  Linda and Malone were staring at it as well.

“He used a model,” Ian said, holding up the file.

We spread the file out on the worktable.  There were pictures of a woman standing in front of a drop cloth. She was blonde, with an impish smile on her face. She could have been in her early to middle twenties. It was impossible to tell how tall she was.  Her figure was eye catching, with a tiny waist and slightly rounded hips.  Most of the pictures showed her in a one piece bathing suit. There were shots of her standing on a pedestal, others with her arms outstretched and still others where she was looking over her shoulder. In a couple of shots he must have used a fan to blow her hair back from her face. She had bottle green eyes which were very expressive.

“She’s a doll,” Ian said softly.

“I wonder who she was,” Linda said.

Pushing the pictures toward Malone, I started flipping through the other papers in the file. There were sketches and notes in Peter’s now familiar handwriting.  Across the top of one page was a name. Meredith Bell. I showed it to Malone.  He turned over one of the pictures and pointed. The same name was written across the back.

“Jay Kay, I think this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” Linda said softly.

“You’ll get no argument from me.”

We stood there for another minute or so, just studying it.  Finally Malone gave his shoulders a shake and nudged the kid. Together they moved the crate to the back wall and resumed working.




  1. I love hearing about how other authors work on projects as well as their processes. Thanks for sharing yours! :)

  2. The creative process is so great. No two people will approach it the same way and the results are always different. Thanks for stopping by.